Trump and the Paris Accords

Volumes will be written about Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris accords — from the standpoint of what it will do to clean energy jobs in our country, what it will do to weaken the global accord, and what it says about our abandoning U.S. leadership in the world. I don’t need to add to those arguments.

What I would like to say is that I hope the 190+ nations who remain in the accord will think creatively about how to isolate and work around Trump — a concept unthinkable prior to this presidency. I hope the signatory nations will broaden the guidelines of who can belong, so that states like California, Oregon, and Washington can sign on. Governor Jerry Brown of California is already making moves in that direction. I hope corporate leaders will join the accord, not as individuals but bringing their economic clout and their businesses with them.

Years ago Daniel Patrick Moynihan remarked that we’re all entitle to our own opinion, but not our own facts. When I listen to Trump supporters v. the rest of the world on CNN, I think Moynihan would despair — the two sides are working from an entirely different set of facts, and can’t even agree on a common place to start discussing the aftermath of what has happened.

Trump has once again based a decision with enormous implications for the world on his very limited, dark, dog-eat-dog perspective. He’s a deeply damaged man, and he’s got the power to drag the rest of us down the rabbit hole with him. The goal for the next four years, or for as long as Trump remains in office, has to be simply this: contain the damage, just as we fight to contain an aggressive cancer or a lethal virus.

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